NVIDIA's recent announcements of three new chipset product offerings weren't punctuated with a lot of hype or fan-fare but never the less, the new technology is compelling for market segments at completely opposite ends of the spectrum. NVIDIA's GeForce 6100 series of Motherboard Chipsets with integrated Graphics, bring a host of new features and DirectX 9 class graphics to the Mainstream, Value and Multimedia PC arena, while the new nForce 4 SLI X16 now offers two full X16 PCI Express Graphics slots for the Enthusiast/Gaming crowd. In a recent meeting with NVIDIA, we learned about these new chipsets and we're here now to present you the inside details.
GeForce 6100 and GeForce 6150 - nForce 430 and nForce 410:
The "Northbridge" component of the GeForce 6100 series chipset contains a GeForce 6 GPU with two pixel pipes and a vertex unit running at 425 - 475MHz, as well as PCI Express links for switching and fanout for other PCIe devices needing access to system resources, including at least 1 X16 PCI Express graphics slot. The "Southbridge" or in NVIDIA's case, the nForce 430 and nForce 410 MCPs consist of a Serial ATA RAID controller, 10/100/1000 Ethernet, USB, standard PCI expansion and NVIDIA MediaShield technology for security services. Another nice addition to the MCP is full High Definition Audio support above and beyond just the standard AC'97 specification.
A big hook for the GeForce 6150 is its ability to accelerate high def WMV9 and MPEG2 content in hardware and it comes bolstered with Dual DVI connections, a TV Encoder and high quality video scaling. We saw one of these boards running in a Home Theater PC style chassis and it's definitely a natural, exhibiting only 25 - 35% CPU utilization while playing back High Def digital video. Conversely, CPU utilization was pegged at 100% when hardware assist was disabled. Finally, both the GeForce 6100 and GeForce 6150 support NVIDIA Pure Video technology.
nForce 4 SLI X16 - 32 lanes for PCI Express Graphics:
We also learned a bit more about NVIDIA's kicker to the nForce 4 SLI for AMD and Intel chipsets, dubbed "nForce 4 SLI X16". This is a pretty straight forward refresh of the product that provides for two full X16 PCI Express Graphics slots and as a result, is now broken out into a two chip solution as well.
Although there are a few Motherboard partners that will be bringing this new nForce 4 SLI implementation to market, Asus in typical fashion, has given us early insight into their products based on the chipset and we have both AMD and Intel versions in house now.
Asus AN832-SLI Deluxe and P5N32-SLI Deluxe Motherboards
Stay with us here because in the weeks ahead we'll be bringing you a full showcase and performance analysis for all of these new motherboard technologies from NVIDIA.